Howdy, Folks! Now that we’re into our 803th day or so of social distancing (or at least, it feels like it) and many of you are probably already through your sixth, seventh and hunnert-and-eleventy-first tv binge options on the various and sundry streaming services, we at the Pullbox thought we’d offer up our own fave bingeworthy shows, in the hope we can provide you with some new lockdown-killing material…
Here with today’s recommendations is, well, me (Andy):
1) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (WB/UPN, 1997-2003 / Amazon) Given our readership, I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but there have been few more groundbreaking, more seminal and more all-round enjoyable series on television in the last several decades. Though I could just as easily have said “the collected works of Joss Whedon,” this one has it all. Strong but realistically troubled female lead? Check. Incredible ensemble cast with some of the best, most quick-witted dialogue ever scripted? Got it. Sophisticated humor and cool monsters that somehow still addresses some of the more troubling issues of our time? Covered. Oh—plus the first lesbian kiss ever shown on prime time tv? Gotcha. And the best musical episode in the history of, well, history? You’ll find that, too. Bear in mind that, like a lot of shows, it took a season and a half or so to find its footing (and its funding)—but if you haven’t watched this one, find a way to do so.
2) Psych (USA, 2006-14 / Amazon) My kids and I love this show, starring James Roday (Shawn) and Dule Hill (Gus) as a really observant smart-alec and his Oscar-to-Felix style friend, who parley his detective-ish skills into Santa Barbara’s leading psychic-detective agency. Well-timed humor and excellent cast and characters with just enough depth to get you invested…and recurring appearances by Curt Smith of Tears For Fears—what more could you ask for? Their “Tuesday the 17th” episode (a sendup of a certain classic slasher flick) is an ongoing tradition for my daughter and I. Was the heir to USA’s Friday night slot before Burn Notice, after Monk bowed out (two other classics).
3) Leverage (TNT, 2008-12 / Amazon) Another, slightly more under-the-radar fave. A team of rogues led by Robin Hood-for-the-modern-age Timothy Hutton in fun, Mission-Impossible meets Oceans 11-style heists and capers. Quick wit, fun character interplay and exciting, well-constructed standalone episodes make for a thoroughly enjoyable watch without requiring an overage of focus and dedication from the viewer.
4) Chuck (NBC, 2007-12 / Amazon) Zachary Levi’s launchpad, the story of electronic store geek Chuck Bartowski, who accidentally has all of the nation’s top spy and security data downloaded into his brain and is forced into the world of international espionage, under the care and protection (willing or not) by CIA agent Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahoski) and NSA agent John Casey (Adam Baldwin)…all while navigating his life at home and the Buy More with a great ensemble cast of goofballs and Awesomes. Cool trivia on the show: under constant threat of cancellation, fans inundated the studio with Subway (a primary sponsor) sandwiches in a show of solidarity, and actually got NBC to extend the show’s run by a season and a half. Funny, exciting and well-scripted, with a number of nice Firefly nods by Agent Casey, if you’re looking for them!
5) Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 2009-14 / Amazon) One of Syfy’s better and longer-running original offerings, Warehouse 13 is equal parts sci-fi and steampunk. Following the missions of had-been-FBI-but-now-WH13 agents Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) and Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly), under the guidance of director Artie Nielsen (Saul Rubinek), the show features a cool, “monster/cursed item of the week” format, which later evolves into some more involved season-long arc metaplots. Fun takes on history, some awesome guest stars (more Firefly nods, with one episode featuring Jewel Staite and Sean Maher) and another solid ensemble cast…and the good guy/bad guy H.G. Wells as a recurring character—this show’s got it all, and in a tone that’s more than ok for the kiddoes.
And there you have it! Still hoping for word from another staffer or two, and if they pipe in, we’ll continue posting one staff member’s opinions each day until we run out of folks, and will do our best to compare notes and not have the same five shows over and over again.
So until…maybe tomorrow, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars! (And let’s keep that six feet of distance from each other while we’re at it, shall we?)